in Follow-Up, Meddling, Politics

Barracuda Labs looks at Romney’s Twitter numbers

From Barracuda Labs

Barracuda Labs, the highly-respected spam-filtering company, wrote up a superb analysis of Mitt Romney’s Twitter numbers. You should read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

Most interestingly, during our investigation, Republican nominee for US President Mitt Romney has been scrutinized recently for his abnormal increase in new followers (@mittromney), indicating that these followers had been purchased in the same way as the Dealers/Abuser scenario from our study. We do note that these followers could have been purchased by either himself, his associates or by his opponents. Particularly, on July 21st, 2012, his follower number went from 673,002 to 789,924, representing a gain of 116,922 or 17%.

In one day – boom! – his follower numbers grow an astounding 17 percent!

Barracuda goes on to say:

Based on the above distinguishable features, we believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.

… in other words, fake accounts.

In defense of the Romney team, Barracuda notes that Twitter users have no control over who follows them:

It is important to note that authentication is not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites. It is possible for anyone to buy followers for other Twitter users. That being said, Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible.

Be sure to check out Barracuda’s Infographic on fake Twitter profiles, prominently featuring Mitt Romney.